John Caudle Teen Killer Murders Mother And Stepfather in Colorado

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John Caudle was fourteen years old when he murdered his mother and stepfather. According to court documents John Caudle would shoot his mother nine times after she grounded him for failing to get her a soda. This teen killer would wait until his stepfather drove up and would shoot him three times causing his death. John Caudle told the court he was under a ton of stress from the mistreatment he received from his parents. The court would ultimately sentence this teen killer to twenty two years in prison

John Caudle Other News

Two John Caudles emerged in a Rio Grande County District courtroom Thursday.

One, a scrawny 15-year-old, is a battered child, belittled by his mother who called him names and punished him by withholding food and seizing his beloved books. His stepfather called him “faggot,” which made his mom laugh.

That Caudle, who still sucks his thumb, “just didn’t want to take it anymore.”

The other is a calculating killer angry about the chores his mother wanted him to perform. To get even, he hid two guns in his room. He shot his mother nine times and then lay in wait for his stepfather and shot him twice in the head.

That conflicting picture of Caudle emerged at his preliminary hearing Thursday for first-degree murder in the two deaths in October in the family’s rural Monte Vista home in south-central Colorado. He is being charged as an adult.

“He said he felt more like a slave than a son,” said Delia Malouff, a 16-year-old who testified in Rio Grande District Court about conversations the two had in the Pueblo Youth Detention Center.

Interview tape played

In a police interview played in the courtroom, the teenager told investigators he was done with the chores, the names and the abuse.

“I didn’t want to hurt anymore,” he said in the interview, taped the day police found the bodies of his mother and stepfather, Joanne and Tracy Rinebarger.

The night before the Oct. 26 killing, Caudle told investigators, he removed two .22-caliber handguns from the home’s gun safe, loaded them and stashed them in his room.

Caudle told the investigators he had returned from school on Oct. 26 and “just looked at” his mother. She railed at him about chores. He was already grounded for two weeks for “pitching a fit” about yardwork. She called him names, he said.

“What names?” asked Detective Amy Frank with the Park County Sheriff’s Office.

“A-hole. Jackass. Stupid idiot. Donkey. Dumb,” said Caudle, who repeated the words only at Frank’s prodding.

He went to his room and retrieved the pistols. He raised the gun toward his mother. He fired.

“I tried to shoot her in the head so she wouldn’t feel anything,” he told Frank. “She screamed. She kept screaming.”

Caudle said his stepfather returned from work an hour later. Tracy Rinebarger walked in the door and saw blood. He screamed his wife’s name. Caudle was hiding in the laundry room. When Rinebarger passed the room, Caudle fired.

“I shot him in the back of the head and he was still alive, so I shot him in the front of the head,” Caudle said.

Rinebarger was still breathing.

“He wouldn’t stop,” Caudle said.

So Caudle stuffed his nostrils with ear plugs. Caudle dragged his stepfather’s body to the back bedroom and laid him alongside the body of his wife.

Tracy’s parents, Ron and Patricia Rinebarger, bowed their heads at this point in the video. Caudle, dressed in jail pants and shackled around the legs and waist, also lowered his head as members of his defense team consoled the teen.

During the several-hour interview that stretched well past midnight the day after the shootings, Caudle occasionally sobbed and embraced his grandmother, Verla Miller of Salida, who huddled motionless in the interview room.

“Do you feel better getting this off your chest?” Frank asked.

“I feel worse,” Caudle said.

The defense’s “battered child” approach “feeds into self-defense,” said Special Deputy District Attorney Dan Edwards of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

“In order to have self-defense, you have to have the imminent risk of serious bodily injury. There is no evidence of that,” Edwards said. “His reasoning was because he was called names. There is no question in this case that this defendant murdered his mother and stepfather with intent after deliberation.”

Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Jodi Wright — under cross examination — described an interview last month with Miller, Caudle’s maternal grandmother. Miller told Wright her daughter Joanne was “too strict,” was “never fair,” yelled often, withheld food from Caudle, “isolated him from other children” and was “very controlling” of her son.

Miller said her grandson “didn’t have anyone to turn to.”

Rio Grande County Undersheriff Charles Chick testified that he went to the Rinebarger home in early 2006 after Joanne called saying her son was trying to run away. Chick said Caudle told him “he was treated like a slave.”

Conversations revealed

Fellow youth-detention resident Malouff went further and said Caudle had told her he was whipped with wire and burned with cigarettes. Prosecutors noted, however, that Caudle also told Malouff lies, including that he had used a shotgun in the killings.

Malouff testified that prosecutors agreed to only charge her as a juvenile rather than an adult in connection with the death of her 7-month-old son in exchange for detailing Caudle’s confession to her.

Caudle told investigators that his violent outburst stemmed from his mother’s insistence on chores. Yet he said that after he killed his parents, he mopped the floor, threw bloody mop pads into the laundry garbage bin and finished doing laundry. He unloaded his stepfather’s 2008 Chevy Silverado pickup before driving it to school the next day. (Later that afternoon, Park County sheriff’s deputies picked him up driving erratically as he passed through Fairplay.)

District Judge Martin Gonzales ended the day-long hearing emphasizing that a preliminary hearing was not a mini-trial, but a proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to go to trial.

Citing Caudle’s admission that he loaded two pistols and stored them in his room the day before the shooting, the “ambush nature” of the killings and the evidence supporting Caudle’s confession, Gonzales said he had “no problem” binding Caudle over for trial on nine counts that carry the possibility of life in prison without parole.

“These were violent crimes, there is no doubt about that,” said Gonzales, who also declined to set any bail for Caudle, who is being held in the Rio Grande County Jail.

John Caudle 2020 Information

John Caudle 2020 photos
Hair Color:BROWN
Eye Color:GREEN
Height:5′ 11″
DOC Number:154438
Est. Parole
Eligibility Date:01/08/2024
Next Parole
Hearing Date:Oct 2023
This offender is scheduled on the Parole Board agenda for the month and year above. Please contact the facility case manager for the exact date.
Est. Mandatory
Release Date:06/28/2029
Est. Sentence
Discharge Date: 
Current Facility

Frequently Asked Questions

John Caudle More News

14 year-old John Caudle has confessed to Colorado police that he killed his mother and step-dad to get out of doing his household chores, reports KUSA in Denver. Caudle’s mother, Joanne Rinebarger, and her husband Tracy Rinebarger, were discovered dead in their home near Monte Vista, Colorado in October. Caudle was arrested the next day 130 Miles north of Monte Vista while driving his parents’ pickup truck. However, district judge Martin Gonzales issued a gag order preventing any press from attending Caudle’s hearing.

According to the recently released arrest affidavit, Caudle admitted he killed his mother because he did not want to take out the trash. He then waited in a closet for his stepfather to come home and shot him several times.

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